Robert Kirkman responds to Invincible #110 reaction

Writer Robert Kirkman gave an interview with Comic Book Resources concerning the recent issue of Invincible. When asked about the graphic rape scene depicted in the comic, Kirkman answered:

It’s definitely a hectic time in Mark’s life, there’s definitely a lot going on with Robot trying to take over the world, and I’m just trying to throw Mark Grayson — the main character of this book — into the worst possible situation he’s ever been in so we can see where he comes out on the other side and whether he manages to retain his sanity in the process. We’re really putting Mark through his paces.

Also, it’s just another attempt to bring something that’s a bad part of real life into a superhero world and analyze the ramifications of something like this happening to someone in superhero comics. It’s a great medium to be able to deal with real-world issues against a fantastic backdrop that is completely unreal and see how those differences in the situation change how characters behave. It’s really all about exploring Mark’s character, and I can say it’s a very hard scene to read, and it’s meant to be that way. There will be far-reaching ramifications coming from this moment that will extend throughout the life of the book for years and years and years. It’s definitely a huge turning point in Mark’s life and it’s something that’s going to temper almost every scene with that guy moving forward. Issue #110 was a monumental issue as far as the run of the book goes.

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Comic books, sales, and rape

Invincible #110 features an uncommon scene in comics: the rape of the main male character. In the issue, Mark Grayson, Invincible, is attacked and raped by a female character. The scene is graphic. While nothing adult is shown, there is no question that the woman physically overpowers and forcibly rapes Invincible in order to get pregnant by him. When finished, she then retorts that Invincible should “Man up. It’ll probably take a few more times. I’ll see you soon.”

I do not read the comic, but I am familiar with the general plot of the story. My understanding is that the female character is part of the same alien, Kryptonian-like race as Grayson, which explains why she is able to physically overpower him. What makes the scene unique is that it does not shy away from showing a woman doing what people usually assume a man would do. The scene does not appear to be played for comedy.

It is unclear how people will react to this. I suspect that a number of fans will take is a Grayson wanting it deep down. Some may take it as a male role-reversal fantasy (this seems the more likely feminist take), while others may find it genuinely disturbing. Continue reading

Lawmakers award boy for raising awareness about child abuse

This is a positive sign:

Often it’s sports teams or students who exhibit academic excellence. Sometimes it’s someone who has shown leadership in improving their community.

Such was the case Thursday when Sen. Page Cortez, D-Lafayette, and Rep. Stuart Bishop, R-Lafayette, got the Senate and House to pause long enough to recognize 16-year-old Elijah Evans, of Youngsville, a sophomore at Ovey Comeaux High School. Members of each body listened to resolutions honoring him as one of two Louisiana high school and middle school students to be selected to receive awards in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program.

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“One man’s sexual assault is another man’s sexual fantasy come true”

Originally posted on April 9, 2013

“Sexual assault, you say? Lucky guy others say, nudge-nudge, a fivesome and didn’t even have to pay for it.”

Rosie DiManno of The Star wrote that in response to a recent gang rape of a young man. According to reports, four women offered a 19-year-old young man a ride home after they left a club. The women, reportedly all in their 30s, instead took turns sexually assaulting the young man in a parking lot. They then drove off in a Honda SUV.

That is a fairly straightforward report. Here is how DiManno put it: Continue reading

Tamen gets FBI to clarify its position on “envelopment” rape

The FBI implemented a new definition of rape in 2012. The previous definition defined rape as:

The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.

The current definition now reads:

The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.

The new definition recognizes forced anal and oral sex as rape, which incidentally allows male victims to also be recognized as rape victims on a federal level.

However, the new definition fails to clearly state whether being forced to penetrate counts as rape. This is important because a 2010 CDC study showed that the majority of male victims of sexual violence reported being forced penetrate their rapists rather than being penetrated by their rapists. While the CDC researchers did not define that act as rape (an issue I discussed elsewhere), being forced to penetrate is often counted as rape in various states.

So it is curious that the FBI chose language that at best makes it unclear whether those acts would count under the new definition. This has been a complaint from many male survivors, their advocates, and various men’s rights activists since the FBI announced the new definition.

To my knowledge, no one who wrote to the FBI about the definition received a response. Except now. Tamen, a blogger at Feminist Critics and Tamen’s Writings and a frequent commenter here, managed to get a response. Continue reading

Bulletin Board v224

Abuse victim rejects apology — A man kept in solitary confinement in a boy’s home run by the Salvation Army, where he was made to sleep where he defecated, has refused to accept an apology for the abuse he suffered. ‘If I see one of those uniforms come within a metre of me, you’d better be there … okay, just keep them away from me,’ the man said when asked if he would accept an apology from the Salvation Army for the abuse he suffered at the Riverview Training Farm in Queensland in 1971.

Cardinal George Pell tells Royal Commission he never told church lawyers to deny sex abuse of altar boy John Ellis — What is the difference between disputing and denying? Quite a lot, according to Cardinal George Pell today. He said that he had never told the church’s lawyers to deny that former altar boy John Ellis has been sexually abused by a priest when he sued the Sydney Archdiocese. He only accepted legal advice that they make Mr Elllis “prove” it.

Dublin priest gets 15 years for 34 years of child abuse in the UK — “Predatory” Francis Paul Cullen, 85, pleaded guilty to 21 charges of indecent assault and other sexual offences last month after being extradited to the UK last year following 22 years on the run in Tenerife. The offences were committed between 1957 and 1991 on children aged between six and 14. Today Cullen looked down in the dock at Derby Crown Court as sentence was passed.

End the embarrassment: More help for male victims demand domestic violence campaigners — With Greater Manchester Police reporting a chilling increase of more than 1,700 cases of domestic violence in the last year, MM looks at the often forgotten victims – men. Latest figures show that GMP dealt with an overwhelming 60,464 cases of domestic violence in the year from September 2012 to September 2013, an increase of 1,715 cases on the previous year. According to Women’s Aid, one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime, many of these on a number of occasions. Continue reading

Study finds 43% of boys coerced into sex

A study published in the APA journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity found that 43% of boys and young reported being coerced into sex:

“Sexual victimization continues to be a pervasive problem in the United States, but the victimization of men is rarely explored,” said lead author Bryana H. French, PhD, of the University of Missouri. “Our findings can help lead to better prevention by identifying the various types of coercion that men face and by acknowledging women as perpetrators against men.”

Of 284 U.S. high school and college students who responded to a survey about unwanted sexual encounters, 18 percent reported sexual coercion by physical force; 31 percent said they were verbally coerced; 26 percent described unwanted seduction by sexual behaviors; and 7 percent said they were compelled after being given alcohol or drugs, according to the study. Half of the students said they ended up having intercourse, 10 percent reported an attempt to have intercourse and 40 percent said the result was kissing or fondling.

The article does not report the amount of statistical overlapping that may have occurred. It is possible that the students who responded to the survey reported multiple incidents or that the incidents they reported included multiple coercive methods.

What is clear, however, is that the study sheds light on something male survivors, their advocates, therapists, psychologists, and men’s rights activists stated for years: women commit sexual violence at a far higher rate than expected. Continue reading